‘Bumblebee’ mildly entertaining

Exceptional movie for franchise but mediocre overall


Fair use from Paramount Pictures

Gabriel Kaplan

When compared to other Transformer movies, “Bumblebee” directed by Travis Knight comes off as exceptional. However, “Bumblebee” is only mediocre compared to practically any other movie.

“Bumblebee” holds a simple plot making it feel dull at times. The movie follows Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), a Californian teenager struggling with her mother’s new stepfather and the death of her father. Early on in the film, she encounters Bumblebee (Dylan O’Brien), an Autobot who has lost both his memory and his voice. He was sent to Earth in order to protect it from the evil Decepticons as a last refuge for his kind, the Autobots. The film centers around Watson as she tries to hide the robot from both the government and the Decepticons who are trying to hunt Bumblebee down.

The movie does a poor job of providing background to viewers new to the Transformers universe. The struggle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, for example, is not fully explained and requires information from previous Transformer movies in order to understand what is going on.

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Additionally, the movie provides almost no explanation for several focal points of the plot. While it is a science fiction/action movie and we are meant to suspend our disbelief, Knight doesn’t even come close to explaining any of the background. First of all, who created these robot aliens? Why do they speak English perfectly and without accents? Once on Earth, why do some Transformers choose to become run-down sedans and others become fighter jets and attack helicopters when all of them seem to have a choice? Really none of the movie makes sense if one actually analyzes it, leaving major plot holes within the movie.

If you put all the issues aside, “Bumblebee” offers an entertaining action movie. The special effects are superb — the Transformers look realistic and are able to interact with the human actors as if they were really there. Though the fight scenes overuse explosions and humans with seemingly unlimited health, they were otherwise fast-paced and exhilarating. Throughout the movie, these scenes keep viewers engaged despite some of the less interesting portions of the plot.

The movie’s acting is also believable. Steinfeld comes off as especially talented — she is able to appear somewhat relatable and is able to make a movie about alien Transformers feel realistic. While only a computer-generated image character, Bumblebee’s body language also seems human and creates a character that you can empathize with.

Regardless of my mediocre review of “Bumblebee,” it is proving to be a box office hit. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie made over $20 million in its opening weekend and in just over a week, it has brought in nearly $170 million.

“Bumblebee:” ★★☆☆☆